The Inside Scoop
“Oh you went to boarding school, you must be posh”
In my first blog post I joked about the fact that when I was 11 my parents shipped me off to boarding school because they didn’t love me. Whilst the former is true, the latter is quite the opposite. I was VERY shy for the most part of primary school (hard to believe I know considering how much shit I talk now), my mum had gone to boarding school when she was young because her parents lived in Zambia (Africa) – so she knew how beneficial it would be for me.
Whilst most people think sending your child to live away from home at such a young age is a bad thing, my parents thought nah lets throw her in the deep end – so off I went, happy as can be.
I arrived, and on the first night of year 7 when we were made to go to bed at 8:30pm whilst the sun was still out, I felt the first tear trickle down my pale, freckle filled cheek. I spent the majority of that year severely home sick. Such the drama queen I am, I used to write my parents guilt letters using phrases such as ‘my life has gone down the drain’ (not quite sure how an 11 years olds life can go down the drain, must have heard it in a song, but I took it and ran with it regardless).
I would mourn everything I left behind, namely my PlayStation and Nintendo – I sometimes had dreams about completing parts of Zelda only to wake up in a Dorm Room realising that I’d have to wait 5 days to go home and play it.
It’s a lot to take in, moving out when you are 11. We had to learn to do our own washing, iron, change our beds, clean our rooms, pack our life into a suitcase, iron, manage our money – basically everything, we didn’t have our parents around to help anymore. The worst was when you were ill.
HOWEVER, once I’d settled in (it took a year or so) I absolutely loved it. I wouldn’t change it for the world and if I have kids I would 100% do the same for them.
I don’t like to mention it much, but when I do tell people I went boarding school they have a lot of misconceptions about it – so I thought I would use this post to explain the ins and outs of boarding school life, so enjoy!
The Set Up:
My boarding school was a STATE-BOARDING SCHOOL (I put the capitals to emphasise), so the education was free but you pay to live at the school. There’s only a few in the country, mine was called Wymondham College if you can be arsed to look it up .
You can board between the ages of 11-18 (year 7 – year 13).
Much like Harry Potter, you get assigned into 1 of 4 boarding houses. I’m not into Harry Potter but I just Googled the colours of the houses and I was in the Green house which is apparently Slytherin – makes sense because I’m a Witch so.
‘Dorms’ are bedrooms. When you’re young you have to share with 5 other people, as you get older you get your own room. It was a mixed boarding school, but they split the Dorms up – so there was a Girls side and a Boys side (if you crossed over then you got expelled so people didn’t really do it).
You were allowed to go home on the weekends, but we had Saturday School (LONGG) so you would Board from Sunday Night- Saturday Morning. At the end of each term you had to pack your whole life into a suitcase and take it home.
All of the lessons were mixed with students from other houses. After school you could go and visit the other houses, however after dinner you weren’t allowed to leave the boarding house – or so they thought 😉
Expectation vs. Reality:
What people think boarding school is like when I mention it:
What my boarding school actually looked like:
… Okay I’m being dramatic, in sixth form we all live in one house which they’d just built and it looked like a travel lodge – we all had en suites, but there was no signal so whenever I wanted to call my boyfriend I had to hang my head out of the window.
The refectory (what a rank name) was where we all went to eat. It can best be described as a massive tin hut with plastic tables and chairs in.
All of the boarding houses would eat in the refectory for breakfast, lunch and dinner so it was a massive meeting ground.
Be careful though, the most embarrassing thing to do was drop your plate (which happened nearly every day), upon hearing the smash of a plate it was mandatory for everyone to shout WHEYYYYYYYYY. Then everyone would go back to his or her own business as if nothing ever happened – except for the person who smashed the plate, they were left traumatised for the rest of the day.
The Languages Block:
My school was based on an old World War 2 Royal Air Force site. It was a massive campus with lots of weird buildings – the main one being the languages block.
Back in its prime, the Languages block was the old morgue, so they used to store all the dead bodies in there from WW2. Which is all fun and games until you have to sit your G.C.S.E German Oral Exam in a room with old railings on the wall that they used to slide and store the bodies onto.
Every day after dinner we all had to do ‘Prep’, which was basically homework time. As you got older, the amount of ‘Prep’ time you had to do increased – by A-Levels we had to sit and do prep for 2 hours a day – long.
In the younger years you all sat in a massive room to do prep, in silence. If you spoke you got moved into another room. People used this time to do anything BUT their homework.
One guy got suspended for having a wank into a pencil case in the middle of prep once. lol.
Are you religious? Who gives a shit, everyone had to go to chapel twice a week and be forced to worship god. Even the Muslims had to go.
The chapel, much like the languages block, was in a renovated WW2 building. It was more of a hut though, that leaked when it rained.
I spent the majority of chapel sessions miming along to hymns, catching up on sleep and trying not to laugh during prayers.
They tried to ban camera phones. Which was all fun and games until about year 9 when they stopped making phones without cameras.
If you got caught with one then they took it away from you. We used to cellotape old Nokia 3410 cases to the backs of our new phones so that they couldn’t see the camera.
The logic was apparently because someone got filmed having a shower naked once – this was unconfirmed though.
Matrons were the ladies that used to look after us at nighttime, put our lights out, woke us up etc.
Some were alright, others were unbearable. My first Matron was like Miss Trunchbull out of Matilda. She was a bitch. She tried to tell my sister that she thought I had diabetes at one point cause I went to the toilet too much at night.
Erm no, I just cant fall asleep at 9pm cause I’m a normal human being so when I’m bored I feel like taking a stroll.
We weren’t allowed to speak after lights out, if you got caught you had to go and stand back to back on the landing for 10 mins. Which made no sense because it would just make us laugh even more.
My favourite Matron was Matron Botley (I know she might read this so hello 🙂 ), she was the sweetest lady ever.
When we got older we used to prank the younger girls a lot. We would fill people’s dorm rooms up with toilet paper, or cling film their dorm frames.
Once, we figured out how to unscrew the sewage tap on the sinks, so we went round and unscrewed a few of them – leaving the entire dorm room smelling of shit 🙂
We cut holes in the shower curtains, stole people’s towels whilst they were in the shower, and threw water bombs at kids in their school uniform walking outside. It was great.
The boys just used to get beaten up.
After prep, if you had a boyfriend or girlfriend in another boarding house, it was cool to sneak out to meet them.
Every couple had their own secret meeting point, in the woods, behind buildings etc. So new couples had to learn their territory. Teachers would patrol the site at night to catch people – some nights would be plain sailing, other nights you’d be running around hiding from teachers which was hilarious until you got caught and put on report.
Report meant that you had to get a signature every 15 mins from a teacher meaning you couldn’t leave the house :/
Anyways, I know its been a long post but I could go on forever. All in all, I wouldn’t change my experience. Going to boarding school made me into a confident, independent and hard working person.
If you want something in life the first person you should ask for help from is yourself. After all, who else is gonna be there for you when you’re crying yourself to sleep aged 11 because it’s Monday and you’ve already spent the week’s pocket money on sweets, only to have them stolen by a Year 11 🙂
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!
Ciao for now – Elz, the Witch.